Monday, May 23, 2022

The Pastel World of Alan Flattmann

 Alan Flattmann, a resident of the Covington area, has over his long career as an artist garnered many honors and accolades. He is revered for his pastel renderings of the scenes of New Orleans, his native city, and other urban landscapes.

Alan Flattmann

He is a Pastel Society of America’s Hall of Fame Honoree and Eminent Pastelist of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS).   

Born in New Orleans in 1946, he studied at the John McCrady Art School of New Orleans, and in 1991 was designated a master pastelist by the Pastel Society of America.  In 1996, he received an Art Masters Award from American Artist Magazine.

Flattmann is considered by many to be one of the most accomplished artists in the country. He has worked as a professional artist for over 50 years.

According to his biography, his work has been shown in numerous solo and major group exhibitions nationally and internationally and is included in the collections of nine museums, as well as being the subject of four books and featured in many periodicals. 

The artist is a founder and current president of the Degas Pastel Society and he teaches painting workshops around the country and abroad as well as classes at Abbey Art Works north of  Covington.  

His website is located at

Inducted into the Pastel Society of America’s Hall of Fame in 2006, he was also recipient of the Who’s Who Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He was a resident of Madisonville for years, but moved north of Covington in 2006.

His informational biography notes that as an aspiring young artist, Flattmann was recognized with a grant in 1973 from the Elizabeth T. Greenshields Foundation in Canada to live and paint in the West Indies for a year. 

It was during this time he developed a strong interest in pastel painting and came to realize pastels were a vastly misunderstood medium.  So, he set out to dispel its many myths and wrote a popular book “The Art of Pastel Painting” published by Watson Guptill in 1987.

The Art of Pastel Paintings

The work was published in subsequent editions in 1990,’91,’92 and revised by Pelican Publishing in 2007.  "Many believe this endeavor was an important contribution to the appreciation of pastels in the U.S.," it was said.

The book is available for purchase at this link.

In describing his work and his book, Amazon said, "Distinguished artist and teacher Alan Flattmann provides invaluable information about theory and technique as well as making crayons, designing proper studio lighting, and much more. Both amateur and professional artists will find this book informative and useful.

"Highlighted techniques include the painterly blended and the Impressionistic broken-color approaches. There are also illustrated discussions of concept and technique, mood and technique, mixed media, form and space, aerial perspective, modeling, and the importance of simplicity."

"Flattmann has received numerous awards and honors during the course of his career.  His work has also been shown in numerous solo exhibitions and included in major group exhibitions in the USA, France, Spain, Columbia, China and Taiwan.  

Photo from his website

"His paintings can be found in the public collections of:   The Butler Institute of American Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, Hang Ming Shi Pastel Art Museum (Suzhou, China), Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Oklahoma Art Center, Longview Museum of Art, Mississippi Museum of Art, and Lauren Rogers Museum of Art," the Amazon comments went to say. 

Numerous magazines have reviewed the book, praising it for its invaluable advice on every aspect of the process of creation, expanding one's expertise and options in pastel painting. The Gallery of International Fine Art, Bryant Galleries said, "The purity and intensity of dry color produce an extraordinary range of effects on a variety of surfaces."

Library Journal notes that the volume has been considered a standard work in this field. 


While the medium first became popular in eighteenth-century France, today pastels have entered a new era, one of unlimited possibilities coupled with the importance of simplicity, it was explained.

Alan has painted many subjects over the years, with major exhibitions featuring paintings of Barbados, Israel, Egypt, Guatemala, China, Greece, Italy, and France. Despite working in these many intriguing places, Flattmann never lost touch with his native New Orleans whose subject matter remains a part of who he is and keeps him inspired, one commentator said.

In explaining his own work, Flattmann has said, "My paintings are realistic, but they are also abstract designs defined by my control of values, shapes, colors and the medium.  Making an exciting and interesting picture is more than simply rendering objects and scenes accurately.  It involves a great deal of thought and ingenuity."

The Art League of Hilton Head noted that Flattmann’s work has been featured in over 40 art books and magazines including Plein Air, Watercolor, American Artist, and Pastel Journal. His work has been shown in more than 60 solo exhibitions and included in major group exhibitions internationally. Flattmann’s paintings can be found in the public collections of hundreds of private and corporate collections. 

His work has been written about in three books, including "An Artist's Vision of New Orleans: The Paintings of Alan Flattmann". Another book, "Alan Flattman's French Quarter Impressions," was published by Pelican Books with text by John R. Kemp.

Because of his decades of success in painting the historic French Quarter, September 28, 2002, was celebrated as Alan Flattmann Day in New Orleans.

See also:

Information for this blog article has been pulled from a variety of sources, including information provided by the artist himself.